COVID-19 Response: Population Health Evidence to Action
Time frame: 2020-ongoing
To address the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, in January 2020, the Foundation launched our Emergency Response Fund. As one of the first charities in Canada to launch a COVID-19 campaign like this, we have been, and continue to, be deeply committed to supporting the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and our public health leaders across BC as we navigate the global pandemic.
BC COVID-19 SPEAK Survey and Dashboard
One of the first key projects we supported in May 2020 was the BC COVID-19 SPEAK Survey: Your Story, Our Future, the largest-ever population health survey at that time in Canada with nearly 400,000 respondents. The purpose of the survey was to learn about British Columbians’ experiences, knowledge, and actions during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of this survey provided our public health leaders with vital knowledge that helped shaped BC’s COVID-19 response.
Some of the key results of the SPEAK Survey included:
- British Columbians were following public health advice.
- People of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds were impacted differently by COVID-19.
- Those with lower income suffered more negative economic and health consequences due to COVID-19.
- Those ages 18-29 and families with children reported greater mental health and economic burden throughout COVID-19.
The data from the SPEAK Survey were made available for all British Columbians through an interactive dashboard. The data not only offers evidence of how COVID-19 is impacting people in all corners of BC, but it also provides the public with a tool to look at and understand the data themselves, in particular what is happening at their regional and community levels.
Drawing heavily on the BC SPEAK data, as well as quantitative and qualitative findings, including quotes from young adults in BC describing the impacts of the pandemic in their own voice, the BCCDC COVID-19 Young Adult Task Force Report “Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults in British Columbia” was released in July 2021. In total, the report contains 32 specific recommendations spread across nine key areas of action and priorities.
BC COVID-19 SPEAK 2 Survey and Dashboard
Thanks again to our donors, we funded the BC COVID-19 SPEAK 2 Survey in 2021, which invited British Columbians to share about their experience one year into the pandemic. This second iteration of the population-level survey focused on gathering evidence at a second time point in the pandemic, as well as for recovery efforts and vaccination programming. More specifically, the “SPEAK 2 Survey” addressed four key areas:
- Life during the pandemic: How British Columbians’ behaviours and experiences have changed over the course of the pandemic.
- Vaccines: What barriers exist to accessing vaccines.
- Innovation and adaptation: How things have changed and how these changes have impacted British Columbians.
- Recovery: What supports are needed to help British Columbians through recovery from the pandemic.
Some examples of how the data are being used include to:
- Inform re-opening plans for safe return to school for kindergarten to grade 12 and the return of in-person post-secondary education.
- Model the impact of the pandemic and informed restart plans.
- Target education and interventions to areas with high vaccine hesitancy levels and inform COVID-19 vaccine program decisions and equity considerations.
- Raise discussions with medical and health leaders around virtual health and healthcare access.
- Raise discussions with community stakeholders to target supports and initiatives to improve mental health.
- Inform recovery priorities in supporting the health and wellbeing of young adults aged 18-29 years and their communities across BC.
A second interactive dashboard to reflect the data from the SPEAK 2 Survey was also made available to the public, and more sub-analyses and reports are expected to come from SPEAK 2 Survey data.
It is imperative that we collaborate across sectors, and with diverse stakeholders, to support and undertake more research and to take action to address the unintended consequences and inequities perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus, we continue to raise funds and undertake COVID-19 response and recovery work. If you’d like to make a donation, please go here or call 604-707-2415.
For updates on this work and other related projects, go here.